FORMALDEHYDE TESTING PROGRAM
PURE AIR SYSTEMS
HPS 500 SERIES CARBON ADSORPTION SYSTEM
SOLICITATION NUMBER: HSFEHQ-09-R-0047
FORMALDEHYDE REMEDIATION FOR MANUFACTURED HOUSING AND TRAVEL TRAILERS
OVERVIEW – REMEDIATION PROCESS – TEST PROTOCOL
The Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency is researching the logistics and costs associated with the remediation of formaldehyde-contaminated manufactured housing and recreational vehicles. The DHS is requesting information from industry to determine its ability to remediate formaldehyde-contaminated manufactured housing and recreational vehicles.
Over the years, FEMA has procured manufactured housing and recreational vehicles which are located throughout the United States. Manufactured housing and recreational vehicles are in the form of park models with average dimensions of 14 ft x 40 ft; travel trailers averaging 8 ft x 32 ft; and mobile homes averaging 14 ft x 65 ft. FEMA has determined the manufactured housing and recreational vehicles are not suitable for residential use/habitation. FEMA is researching the logistics and cost associated with reducing the formaldehyde concentration in the manufactured housing and recreational vehicles to a level of 0.16 ppm or below, and maintaining that level indefinitely.
Established in 1985, Pure Air Systems has been manufacturing HEPA and Carbon based air filtration systems for the residential, commercial, institutional and medical markets. We have systems in operation in a number of government associated facilities such as; Lawrence Livermore National Labs, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs, BAE Defense Systems, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, Picatinny Arsenal and U.S. Boarder Patrol to name a few.
For applications where the reduction/removal of odors and gases are required, we remove the HEPA filter from our systems and replace it with various carbon and adsorption based compounds specifically suited for removal or reduction of specific gases.
For the purposes of this specific project we used our new portable HPS 500 unit that can move over 500 CFM of air. The HPS unit is 13” square and 21 ½” long and weighs approximately 28 lbs as used in this test phase. We installed three filters in the HPS 500 for this test phase.
The first filter is a combination 12” x 12” x 1” ring panel polyester media on inlet side and carbon media on discharge side. This first filter is designed to remove dust particulate and keep the adsorption media clean. This first filter contains 76 grams of activated carbon.
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The second filter is a 12” x 12” x 2” box style pleated material that contains 294 grams of activated alumina with 5% potassium permanganate.
The third filter is a 12” x 12” x 4” box style pleated filter material that contains 374 grams of activated alumina with 5% potassium permanganate. The three filters combined have a total of 744 grams of adsorptive media.
TEST EQUIPMENT :
The three adsorptive media filters were placed in the HPS 500 series unit. (see photos last page). This system uses an EBM four speed blower/motor assembly that can produce well over 500 CFM with all filters installed. For the purpose of this remediation test we ran the unit at the lowest speed of 200 CFM.
The HPS 500 was placed in an 8x8x8 plastic enclosed room that was almost air tight. (see photos last page). The test room is located in a warehouse space and the space is not cooled or heated. The tests were done from June 10th through June 24th. The average temperature in the room was 84 degrees with an average relative humidity of 50 %. This is fairly close to the conditions you would find in a mobile home or recreational vehicle that is closed up with no ventilation or operational heating/cooling system in the same seasonal time period in most parts of the U.S.
A stand was placed in the middle of the test room and a section of carpet was placed on the stand. We used a 37% solution of HCHO (Formaldehyde) (Formalin) solution reagent for the purpose of replicating as closely as possible the type of Formaldehyde used in certain building materials found in the construction of mobile homes and recreational vehicles. The HCHO was purchased from Spectrum and is listed as: CAS 50-00-0.
To accurately measure the levels of Formaldehyde in ppm, we used a Sensidyne Gastec sampling pump, model 800. (see photo last page). To measure the gas levels we used Sensidyne Precision Gas Detector Tubes, Number 171SC for Formaldehyde. Range 0.05 to 4.0 ppm. Lot No. 252019. Tubes have an expiration date of Jan 2010.
To establish a base level (in ppm) of Formaldehyde that would be representative of HCHO levels that may be present in mobile homes, travel trailers and recreational vehicles as indicated in the overview of this report. Our own experience with testing for Formaldehyde in homes and mobile homes has shown levels that range from 5 ppm. Since the Sensidyne tubes have a maximum range of 4.0 ppm we ran a number of tests to determine the amount of Formaldehyde needed in the test chamber to start with a base level of 4.0 ppm.
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TEST A: Date: June 10, 2009; Time: 10:00 AM
A piece of carpet was placed on a stand in the middle of the test chamber and the appropriate amount of Formaldehyde was placed directly on the carpet piece. The chamber was closed up for four (4) hours prior to taking the first reading. The HPS 500 did not run during the four hour saturation process.
Time: 2:00 PM
The first reading was taken (HPS not running): Base level of 4.0 ppm HCHO achieved.
Time: 2:01 PM
HPS 500 was turned on with fan running at lowest speed setting ( 200 CFM).
Date: June 11, 2009; Time 2:00 PM
Second reading taken after HPS 500 ran for 24 hours in test chamber. HCHO reading 0.3 ppm.
Date: June 12, 2009; Time 2: 00 PM
Third reading taken after HPS 500 ran for 48 hours in test chamber. HCHO reading 0.05 ppm.
TEST B: Date: June 15, 2009; Time 9:00 AM
Dispersion Test. The same protocol was used for this test as used for the HPS 500 carbon reduction/removal test. The purpose of this test is to determine if, over time, the levels of Formaldehyde will decrease or remain the same if no active reduction/removal process is used. The same amount of Formaldehyde was introduced by applying it to a piece carpet located on a stand in the center of the test chamber.
Time: 1:00 PM
The first reading was taken: Base level of 4.0 ppm HCHO achieved.
Date: June 16, 2009; Time 1:00 PM
The second reading was taken after 24 hours: HCHO reading 4.0 ppm.
Date: June 17, 2009; Time 1:00 PM
The third reading was taken after 48 hours: HCHO reading 4.0 ppm.
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CONCLUSIONS AND OBSERVATIONS:
While this test was concluded in a test chamber rather than an actual mobile home, trailer or recreational vehicle, the environmental conditions and levels of Formaldehyde used in the test chamber mimic, in many ways, the actual conditions we have found in homes and mobile homes in actual in-situ testing.
We only ran the tests over a 48 hour time frame since we only used a small amount of Formaldehyde. This represents, more or less, an equivalent amount of Formaldehyde that would be representative of an entire unit where much of the construction materials would contain some Formaldehyde and the overall concentration, dispersion and out-gasing would last for a much longer period of time. The dispersion test verified that there is little or no decrease in the HCHO level without any active reduction/removal process. Based on these tests in can be concluded that the HPS 500 with the adsorptive media as tested would maintain the levels of < 0.05 ppm indefinitely.
NEXT PHASE – TESTING IN DHS MOBILE HOME, TRAVEL TRAILER OR RECREATIONAL VEHICHLE.
The next test for the HPS 500 would be in an actual DHS formaldehyde – contaminated mobile home, travel trailer or recreational vehicle as indicated in the original solicitation. With the positive results of the Formaldehyde reduction/removal testing as shown in our test report Pure Air Systems believes the use of the HPS 500 would be a much better and much less expensive than removing and replacing all the wall and floor construction materials.
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Pure Air Systems Test Chamber
Sensidyne Test Tubes
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Carbon Media and Alumina Media With 5% Potassium Permangenate
About the Author: Don Musilli
My name is Don Musilli. I started Pure Air Systems in 1985 and then sold it in 2006. I continue to consult for PAS and write their blog and control their Twitter account. I also, on occasion, make changes to the website. The company is now almost 26 years old and has been a major player in offering commercial grade, high performance HEPA and Carbon based filtration systems for the commercial, institutional, industrial and residential markets.
I currently reside in Englewood, Florida where I write blogs and do social media marketing for a number of clients.
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